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Amritsar Vikas Manch (Read 5667 times)
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Amritsar Vikas Manch
09. Sep 2006 at 11:54
Amritsar Vikas Manch has asked for a review of the central Government decision to upgrade Halwara airport near Ludhiana to an international standard. In a letter written to the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, AICC President Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Civil Aviation Minister Sh. Praful Patel, Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala has traced the long history of the Amritsar airport and the landmark decision of the former Prime Minister Sh. Inder Kumar Gujral who appreciating the dark period of militancy suffered by the state particularly by the border district of Amritsar, announced up gradation of the Rajasansi airport earmarking and sanctioning Rs. 125 crore. Although the upgraded facility has been gaining popularity amongst passengers and airlines, the airport is far from complete and in the words of former chief election commissioner Dr Manohar Singh Gill, it is worse them ‘a bus stand’. Under these circumstances, according to Dr. Gumtala, it is a better utilization of resources to invest and develop Amritsar airport further & rather than set up another one at Halwara that too risking the proximity of two airports in these days of high speed aircraft. Dr. Gumtala has mentioned provisions of the Civil Aviation policy of 1934 (When airplanes were not so fast) according to which no fresh airport can be permitted within 150 kms of an existing one. The government has sought a special waiver of this provision and decided to have another airport at Halwara – an air distance of only 100 kms or so. As per the Civil Aviation Traffic Policy, any new airport should not jeopardize the functioning or future of an existing airport.
     It may be recalled that much bigger and populous states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka etc, have got only one international port. Even developed countries like USA, Canada do not have international airport so close as Amritsar and Halwara. Therefore the decision to thrust a second airport on Punjab having a population of  only 2.5 crore, calls for a revision because the general view is that it has been taken only in view of the impending Vidhan Sabha Elections in Punjab.        
                                                     (Dr. Charanjit Singh Gumtala)
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